Even with the Covid-19 stay-at-home order in effect, Las Vegas Metro Police officers are still making arrests at a steady pace. Reports indicate a surprisingly high number of DUI arrests, as well as an increase in arrests for robbery and assault, including domestic violence. If you are arrested or questioned by Las Vegas police, there are three very important guidelines to remember.
Your rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the United States Constitution exist all the time. You have the right to remain silent and to have an attorney present when police question you, even if the officer does not arrest you. While police do not need to advise you of these rights unless they take you into custody, you can exercise your rights from the very beginning of police questioning. And that’s exactly what you should do.
If police stop you or come to your home, your name is the only information that you should provide. Then tell the officers that you wish to assert your right to remain silent and have an attorney present during questioning. Say absolutely nothing more, regardless of that the officers say to you. Do not respond to questions or make any statements or comments. Also tell the officer that you wish to contact your lawyer.
Exercising your Constitutional right to remain silent does not include the right to refuse to take a breath or blood test for DUI or DUID. If you are stopped on suspicion of DUI or DUID, Nevada law provides that you give implied consent to testing for alcohol or drugs. While you can refuse to take a blood or alcohol test, your driver’s license likely will be revoked because of the refusal.
There is no specific language that you need to use to invoke your right to remain silent and your right to have an attorney present. All you need to do is make it very clear that you choose not to answer questions and that you want to have an attorney present before you respond to the inquiry.
If a police officer asks permission to search you, your vehicle, or your residence, do not consent to the search. If the officer gives you a search warrant, you do need to allow the search.
Under most circumstances, law enforcement officers are required to have a search warrant before they can conduct a search. However, if they ask permission and you consent to the search, a warrant is no longer required. Any evidence they discover after your consent can be used against you.
If police conduct a warrantless search without consent in circumstances for which the law requires a warrant, any evidence they find is illegally obtained. If your attorney successfully challenges an illegal search, the court will prohibit the prosecution from using any evidence obtained in the illegal search and seizure.
To protect your ability to contest evidence obtained in a warrantless search, you can and must refuse if a law enforcement officer asks permission to conduct a search without a warrant. Your consent eliminates the need for the police to get a warrant — so do not ever give it.
While you should exercise your right to remain silent and have an attorney present, you also should be cooperative with the police. Follow any instructions they provide. Do not try to run, do not resist arrest, and do not argue with the police. That won’t accomplish anything other than possibly making matters worse.
Do not volunteer any information, even if you think it might be helpful to law enforcement or helpful to you. Staying silent means just that — you should not say anything at all. Wait until you talk to your attorney to discuss potentially helpful information.
Police have a lot of strategies that they use to get people to provide information. They can even make untrue statements in an effort to get a person to talk. Don’t take the bait. Volunteering any information — even simply making a comment — can get you into trouble. You can cooperate and be polite while refraining from saying anything to the police. That’s exactly what you should do — and let your lawyer do all the talking.
If you’re arrested in Las Vegas, even if you do not live here, it’s essential to have an experienced Las Vegas criminal defense attorney represent you. While a lawyer from somewhere else (even another state) technically could represent you, an attorney who knows the Las Vegas courts and procedures is in a better position to defend you against charges filed in Clark County. Familiarity with local practices, law enforcement, and prosecutors can make a substantial difference in determining the best strategy for defending against criminal charges in Las Vegas.
If you face any state or federal criminal charges in Las Vegas, Henderson, or elsewhere in Clark County, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney who not only understands the laws and local courts and practices, but also knows how to investigate and analyze evidence. Criminal defense attorney Joseph Gersten will evaluate your case based on his extensive investigative background and Las Vegas criminal defense experience. Then, he will develop a strategy to put forward the strongest defense possible.
Your initial consultation is always free-of-charge. Call 702.857.8777 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment.